Hewitt cruises into US Open second round
September 1, 2009 - 2:19PM
Lleyton Hewitt has one eye on Roger Federer and the other on long-time bitter rival Juan Ignacio Chela after cruising into the second round of the US Open in New York.
While fellow Australian Samantha Stosur struggled to see off the reportedly pregnant Ai Sugiyama in three sloppy sets and Jelena Dokic bombed out, Hewitt could scarcely have been more impressive in dispatching Brazilian Thiago Alves for the loss of just seven games.
Playing like he had to catch an early show on Broadway, Hewitt motored through the opening two sets in less than an hour before closing out a 6-0 6-3 6-4 victory to preserve his proud record of never having lost a first-round match in 10 visits to Flushing Meadows.
"I felt pretty comfortable," Hewitt said.
The 2001 champion may not be feeling so comfortable if he wins his next match on Thursday against Chela to book a Saturday night showdown with Federer, the top seed and five-time defending champion.
"Obviously if I get to the third round, there's always going to be a very good chance that he's going to be there," Hewitt said.
"So for me, it's about getting through these matches and hopefully having a crack at him.
"So I've got to beat Chela in the next round. That's my main focus and what I'm going to try to do.
"It's going to be a tough match. He's going to sit out there and grind for days and he's going to stand a long way back and I've got to go out there and play my game and try and dictate, play on my terms.
"If I can do that and I can execute, then hopefully things will be alright."
Hewitt and Chela have staged some fierce battles, none more explosive than their third-round clash at the 2005 Australian Open, after which the Argentine was fined for spitting towards the Australian.
Stosur's labouring 6-4 4-6 6-4 victory over 34-year-old Sugiyama, who Australian coach and commentator Roger Rasheed on Tuesday claimed was pregnant, was a timely wake-up call for the world No.15.
Stosur admitted to feeling the heat as a top-16 seed for the first time at a grand slam and said the close shave was another reminder that her French Open semi-final appearance is now but a distant memory.
"I can always look back to and remember that I did get that far at a slam, but this is another new tournament now and that was a few months ago," she said.
"So I can't think I'm going to win matches just because I made the semis of the French.
"You've got to go out there and play every match and expect a lot from your opponent and respect their game."
Making her return after being bed-ridden for two months with mononucleosis, a blood infection that causes fever, fatigue and symptoms similar to the flu only much stronger, Dokic wilted to surrender the last four games in a 6-3 6-4 loss to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.
"I didn't feel great physically on court and my power and my endurance and my movement is not even close to where I want it to be," Dokic said.